Washington D.C. – Last week the Swedish company Volvo (OTCMKTS: VOLVY) debuted its IntelliSafe Auto-Pilot system joining other leaders in the field to bring self-driving cars to the market. Additionally, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson, stated that the company would “accept full liability” if any of their cars are involved in accidents.
The statement came during a seminar at House of Sweden in Washington D.C. to discuss the safety in self-driving cars, where the company also said it is trying to accelerate the federal certification needed by the industry to take off.
“The U.S. risks losing its leading position in autonomous driving due to the lack of federal guidelines for the testing and certification of autonomous vehicles,” Samuelsson said addressing the U.S. government officials last Thursday as reported by Digital Trends.
Volvo has remained confident about their technology in self-driving cars, but the amount of legal issues involving liability impedes the introduction of the technology at greater scale.
Companies like Mercedes and Google have also made similar claims accepting liability for the crash of one of their driverless cars. But certain personalities remain incredulous about the merit of any of the announcements. Ben Gardener, a solicitor at Pinsent Masons, believes Volvo’s so-called liability is aimed at reducing uncertainty in the minds of regulators and drivers.
“Volvo wants to remove the uncertainty of who would be responsible in the event of a crash. At the moment it could be the manufacturer of the technology, the driver, a maker of a component in a car,” Gardener said to BBC News.
What about guidelines?
The absence of existing rules makes difficult for companies to design, produce and especially test developing cars which could continue to delay the development of the technology, especially with guidelines changing from state to state.
For instance, only a handful of US states such as California and Nevada allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads, and even then rules around certification vary. Regulation at the same time is slowed by unanswered ethical and legal concerns when it comes to liability for driverless car accidents.
“The absence of one set of rules means car makers cannot conduct credible tests to develop cars that meet all the different guidelines of all 50 U.S. states […] If we are to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous mobility then together we must create the necessary framework that will support this,” said Samuelsson in a Volvo press release.